Conroy: Canucks offer 'made the most sense' after surveying market
Calgary received a five-piece package in return for the 29-year-old centre in Andrei Kuzmenko, prospects Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round draft pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round draft pick.
Flames general manager Craig Conroy told NHL.com that he's been discussing a potential Lindholm trade throughout the season, but the Canucks made an offer no other team could match to complete the move.
"Obviously I've been communicating with teams all year, but probably after Saturday morning, I talked to [Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin] and they came with an offer,” Conroy said. “I think I talked to a lot of teams, and it was more, 'What are you looking for?' and 'What are you thinking about?' conversations. They threw a real offer at me, and I circled back with all the other teams just to kind of work through to see where we were at.
“[We] went back to Vancouver, we added things. We went back and forth, the negotiation process, trying to get more to see what deal worked for both sides. Probably today we got right down to the end. I circled back with all the other teams, and they put their best offers forward, and this deal just made the most sense to me."
The move gives the Canucks a sixth All-Star representative this weekend in Toronto, while the Flames will now be without a player in the festivities after Lindholm was named to the roster for the first time in his career in January.
Vancouver gained cap space in Wednesday's trade, with Kuzmenko's $5.5 million cap hit leaving their books and Lindholm signed at $4.85 million on his expiring deal.
Kuzmenko had a breakout season as an NHL rookie last year, posting 39 goals and 74 points in 81 games. The 27-year-old has struggled this season with eight goals and 21 points in 43 games, while also seeing time as a healthy scratch for the Canucks. He remains signed through next season after inking a two-year deal in the off-season.
“We're trying to build this thing forward and we want to build a team that's consistently in the playoffs and eventually wins the Stanley Cup – that's the main goal,” Conroy added. “Right now, this was the best thing for the team. We're losing a great player but we're getting back a very good goal-scorer in Kuzmenko.
"It's exciting to be able to add some young prospects and some draft picks. It gives us some more balance throughout our organization."
Lindholm was listed at No. 1 on the TSN Trade Bait board prior to Wednesday's deal, but more moves could be coming in Calgary ahead of March 8. Defencemen Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin are also pending unrestricted free agents, with Tanev listed at No. 2 on the Trade Bait board and Hanifin checking in at No. 19. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom, signed for another two seasons at a $6 million cap hit, was listed at No. 30 on the Trade Bait list before Wednesday's blockbuster.